Carroll County resident, Mr. Devey South, was named a Highway Angel for saving a family out of their destroyed vehicle after a major accident. South, 50, is a semi-truck driver for JLE Industries. On June 9, he was driving a load for delivery when he saw an accident occur on Interstate Highway 78 outside of Saucon, Pennsylvania. He was in the right hand lane at the time of occurrence.
“The car started to fishtail, swerved and then side-swiped the SUV,” said South. “It caused the SUV to spin and then flip 4 times across the highway.”
The SUV landed on the driver’s side and slammed against the concrete barrier. South applied his air brakes and pulled over. He then jumped out and ran across three lanes of traffic.
“When they came by me, I thought they were going to come back and hit me first,” said South. “Once he got sideways, the SUV started flipping.
“The back window was busted out,” South continued. “I stuck my head in, but there was smoke, or dust and I couldn’t see anything.”
He eventually saw a boy, about 12 years old, lift his head up. “He was cut and had blood all over his arms,” South told the boy to hang on. He then climbed on top of the SUV.
“The driver’s door was smashed in,” he says. “It took me about 10 minutes to pry the door open.”
The driver, the boy’s father, was conscious and still in his seat belt. “He was crying and in pain but didn’t speak English.”
South was able to pull the boy out first. He then used his Swiss Army knife to cut the driver’s seat belt. At the time, South says he didn’t know if he was dealing with smoke or dust from the airbags, so he and another motorist who had stopped, made the decision to pull the driver out and get him on the ground. As they waited for first responders, the driver of the other vehicle got out.
“She was on her cell phone and looked like she was fine,” said South. “She kept saying she was sorry.”
However, South couldn’t find out what had happened. He waited with the injured driver and his son until first responders arrived a short time later and took over.
Mr. South is on the road often and he has seen other accidents happen in front of him similar to this.
“I’m usually out for one to two months at a time. I have seen where people on motorcycles get killed by accidents. Just about every day you are getting in a backup somewhere. It is either construction or an accident. A lot of times with accidents, you don’t ever see them. If I was right up on [an accident] where I could help somebody, I would.”
Mr. South is one of 1,300 truckers who have received this award over the past 24 years. “I was not expecting it,” said South. “I was doing what comes naturally. I was not looking for praise. My company put me in that. It is human nature to help someone in need.”